Sunday, January 8, 2012

Spa Slut: The Mauna Lani Spa in Kohala, Hawaii (Part 1)

How fitting that for my first two “Sunday Splurges” of the year I am focusing on the Mauna Lani Spa on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii?  I want to divide the Mauna Lani Spa into two posts for the pure selfish reason of reliving every detail. Well… not every detail.  I could do without vividly remembering getting water-boarded during my Lava Watsu Experience, but it’s forever imprinted in my psyche. Let’s not talk about that yet.  I’ll leave that tale for next week, but know that the Watsu certainly did not leave a black mark on the Mauna Lani Spa. It is still in my Top 5 Spas of all time.

I am quite familiar with the magic of this spa (obviously I’m not alone; It’s received top accolades from publications like Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler).  The entire spa was designed around the history, mythology, and geography of the location.  The locker room has outdoor lava rock showers, stocked with delicious coconut and ginger products.  I usually first grab an ice cold washcloth and head for the steam room, which fills up with thick steam in 30 seconds with a push of a button.  The spa has both indoor treatment rooms and outdoor thatched hales, surrounded by lava rock, a healing garden, and a fragrance garden.  There are also two natural lava saunas and a Lava Tube Watsu Pool.

I’ve done the lava sauna before, and I kind of thought it was a waste of money.  The open air  sauna is a private lava rock walled-in area with a place to sit and spread volcanic mud on yourself or your loved one.   Then you sit in the sun and “bake” and then shower off in the outdoor shower. It’s all lovely, but $79 for self-service?  Really?  At least I can say I tried it. Their spa has more than 50 services on its menu, most of which incorporate Hawaiian culture and local ingredients.  Three years ago I discovered their “Fire and Ice” 120 minute facial, which holds the title of being my most favorite spa service of all time.

The “Fire and Ice” Facial is the culmination of everything I hold sacred in a spa service.   It is two hours of constant massaging, treating, masking, and luxurious pampering.  My esthetician, Shoko Motoyama,  began by applying a moisture mask on my hands and feet and then covered them with warm booties.  She then basically used every healing and hydrating product in the Eminence Organic Skincare line.  Side Note: I don’t know if you’ve ever had an Eminence facial, but I highly recommend it.  All of their products smell deliciously of freshly cut fruit and plants. It’s a special experience to devote an entire hour (or two hours if you’re lucky) to this hyper-aromatic experience, trying to guess which products your aesthetician used by scent.  This is what a nerd I am — the aesthetician sends you home with a brochure that has a list of all the products, coded by skin type, richness, etc.  She will mark off everything she used during your facial and what she recommends for at-home use.  I pour over every product, looking at her choices, trying to analyze her reasoning.  I have booklets from Eminence facials from 10  years ago.  Pathetic, right? I tried to find an easy way on the Eminence website to search for spas offering Eminence facials, but I couldn’t find it.  My advice is to cross-reference your location with “Eminence facial” and see what comes back.  

Getting back to the “Fire and Ice”… She used 1 cleanser, 2 toners, 2 gentle exfoliators, 1 serum, 3 face masks (she actually blended 2 different masks together 3 times, so she actually used a total of 6 masks), 2 eye creams, 1 eye gel, 1 lip exfoliator, 1 lip mask, and 1 lip balm during the treatment. No lie. I have the booklet to prove it.  You would think Shoko would be pretty busy applying all those products, but the majority of the two hours were spent massaging oils and creams into my hands, feet, neck, shoulders, and back using her hands, and hot and cold stones.  The “Fire and Ice” are represented by the hot and cold stones, which when used one immediately after the other, creates a stimulating affect (or at least that’s what Shoko told me).
I walked out of the spa with glowing skin that smelled like a freshly baked fruit pie.  The yum will continue next week when I tell you about my Kona Mocha Body Scrub. And yes, though not yummy, I will also tell you about the waterboarding (my husband insists I have a duty to my readers) during my Watsu massage.
Aloha and enjoy the week!

 

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One Response to “Spa Slut: The Mauna Lani Spa in Kohala, Hawaii (Part 1)”

  1. April 01, 2013 at 3:39 pm, Podcast: DeMystifying the Spa Facial (Why I Love Them and the Secret to Getting Ideal Results) - Beauty Binge | Beauty Binge said:

    […] shoulder, arm, feet, and leg massage using hot and cold stones. Ahhh…  (Read full review here) As I said at the end of the podcast, if you have any questions or just want my input to help you […]

    Reply

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